by Linda Straker
- Minister Cornwall unable to provide answers to questions submitted by Opposition Leader
- Dr Mitchell urged Speaker to ensure questions were appropriately answered
- Speaker Cato will appeal to Minister Cornwall for answers to particular questions raised
Leo Cato, Speaker of the Lower House of Parliament has appealed to Members who are serving as Government Ministers to provide answers to the House when questions are raised or submitted by members of the Opposition.
The appeal came after Finance Minister Dennis Cornwall informed the House during the 18 July sittings that he was unable to provide the House with answers to questions submitted by Opposition Leader Dr Keith Mitchell.
Dr Mitchell asked Cornwall to provide the list of the names of each delegation who travelled on behalf of the Government from 23 June, 2022 to 31 May, 2023 and to provide the total cost of each trip. The opposition leader also wanted Cornwall to inform the House who paid for any trip that was not funded by the Government.
In his response Cornwall, who became the Finance Minister as of April 2023, said that most of the travel undertaken by Ministers of Government are not necessarily funded by the Government or payment was made by the Ministry of Finance and, he therefore was unable to provide answers.
The question was originally submitted to the Parliament in May.
Dr Mitchell was not satisfied with the answer and urged the Speaker to assist him with ensuring the questions were appropriately answered.
The Speaker then made his appeal to all Members of Parliament who are serving as Ministers of Government. “Honorable MPs, I want us to get to the point when questions are asked, we can provide the answers that are available from the ministries or wherever. I am getting the sense that it’s not every time a minister or a government official travels, that the travel is funded by the consolidated fund,” he said. “Sometimes you have sponsors and donors cover the cost. I don’t know if any information can be brought to Parliament about sponsors and donors but cost on the Government of Grenada, on the consolidated fund has to be reported to the Parliament,” said Cato.
“It is Government, and we have a responsibility to present that information to Parliament. It belongs to the public domain, it belongs to public discussion and is part of the public interest to know exactly what is happening. I appeal to members of this House to be sort of more precise when responding to questions raised,” he said while promising Dr Mitchell that he will appeal to the minister to find the answers for these particular questions raised.